Hopes of stronger economic growth in the U.S. and abroad helped push the U.S. stock market to a five-year high in January and sent crude prices up. When economies expand, more gasoline, diesel and jet fuel are consumed by shippers and travellers.
U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs in January, and hiring was much stronger at the end of 2012 than previously thought, the Labor Department reported Friday. There was one negative sign: The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 per cent from 7.8 per cent in December.
Oil dropped about $1 right after the report was released. It turned around as U.S. stock markets opened higher. Also, a separate report showed U.S. manufacturing activity grew at a faster pace in January, which is a good sign for oil demand.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery rose 28 cents to finish at $97.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, was up $1.21 to end at $116.76 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. A suicide bomber detonated an explosive Friday in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, adding to concerns about possible supply disruptions due to the conflicts in the Middle East.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline rose 2 cents to finish at US$3.05 per U.S. gallon (3.79 litres).
— Natural gas fell 4 cents to end at US$3.30 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil gained 4 cents to finish at US$3.16 a gallon.
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